Judge Sets $1 Million Bail for Singer R. Kelly on Sexual Assault Charges

Courtesy Chicago Police Department/Handout via Reuters

Last updated 2/23/2019 at 3:14 p.m. ET.

Grammy-winning R&B singer R. Kelly, who has faced years of sexual abuse allegations, was granted a $1 million bond on Saturday on charges that he sexually assaulted three teenagers and a woman, as prosecutors offered new details on the case.

In Cook County court, prosecutor Jennifer Gonzalez said Kelly met one of the teenaged victims during his trial on child pornography charges in 2008 when she sought his autograph after a day in court. Kelly was acquitted of those charges.

He met another victim at her 16th birthday party, Gonzalez said, and had sex with her at his recording studio. A third charge is based on a videotape that purportedly shows Kelly and a 14-year-old girl engaged in sexual acts.

The fourth victim was Kelly’s hairdresser, according to prosecutors, who said Kelly tried to force her to have oral sex before ejaculating on her shirt. DNA testing linked the sample to Kelly, prosecutors said.

Cook County Judge John Lyke, who called the allegations “disturbing,” set bail at $1 million for Kelly. The singer appeared in a black hooded sweatshirt and listened, head down, as prosecutors outlined the case against him.

The 52-year-old, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was charged with a 10-count indictment on Friday, nearly two months after the Lifetime television network aired a six-hour documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” in which multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct and abuse.

The judge also ordered Kelly not to have contact with anyone under the age of 18. Each count carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.

His lawyer Steven Greenberg told reporters that he expected Kelly to secure his release sometime over the weekend.

“We haven’t seen any evidence, any reason to believe these allegations are credible,” Greenberg said.

The video in question was apparently obtained by lawyer Michael Avenatti, known for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battle against President Donald Trump. Avenatti said he represents two victims and had given the tape to authorities.

Kelly, best known for his hit single “I Believe I Can Fly,” has for years denied accusations of abuse.

In 1994, he married his 15-year-old protege, the singer Aaliyah, a union that was annulled months later because of her age. Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.

The 2008 child pornography case stemmed from a video purportedly showing Kelly having sex with an underage girl. A jury acquitted Kelly after concluding it could not be certain whether Kelly and the girl were the people shown in the video.

“Surviving R. Kelly” touched off a new controversy when it debuted in January, prompting his record label, Sony Music-owned RCA, to end its relationship with the performer.

“We are proud that Lifetime was able to provide a platform for survivors to be heard,” Lifetime said in a statement on Friday.

It was not clear if any of the alleged victims, who were not named in the indictment, were the same as those in the documentary.

Kelly, a three-time Grammy winner whose hits also include “Bump N’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin,” grew up in a Chicago public housing project where, according to his autobiography, he was sexually abused beginning at age 8.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Writing by Joseph Ax; editing by Grant McCool)

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